Should law firms or attorneys use social media to market themselves? That is a question many firms and individual attorneys are struggling with in today’s Wed 2.0 world. It seems like everyone has a Facebook page, Tweeting is a well-known verb and most professionals know about LinkedIn.  However, many attorneys and firms out there still seem a little hesitant to jump into to social media marketing. To some it may seem a little “unseemly”, for others it is a little “untested”   and for others it may seem a too time consuming.

Whatever the reasons for not including social media into an overall marketing strategy I believe there are many more reasons to include a social media component to your firm’s marketing initiatives. Let’s quickly look at the three reasons to not use social media mentioned above.

First, there is the argument that it is a little unseemly for law firms to use social media to market themselves. I believe that argument has no legs at all. Social media has shown itself to be a very legitimate media and is expanding rapidly while at the same time other forms of media are doing the exact opposite. Social media allows firms and attorneys to promote their expertise and experience in their areas of practice. I don’t see anything unseemly about that.

Second, social media marketing is untested and you can’t really know if it is working or not. That does hold up either since you can track almost all of your social media marketing. Facebook, blogs, LinkedIn and Twitter all have stats or analytics that can be used to see how effectively you are using them (some third-party tools make this even easier). Have you ever tried to track to effectiveness of a print ad? I can tell you it not that easy.

Finally, it is the too time consuming. Social media can take up some time, but if it is integrated into your overall marketing strategy and is planned out you’ll easily find the time. Social media marketing is just like anything else in that you get out of it what you put in it.

In short, as long as you remain aware of the ethical requirements of your bar membership and the advertising restrictions are complied with social media  can be an effective medium for growing your business relationships.

Either way, I suggest that law firms and attorneys considering incorporating social media as a component of their marketing strategy. Set goals, identify benchmarks and evaluate the effectiveness regularly.  You may be pleasantly surprised at how useful these tools can be for engaging your clients.

Miller Montague October 28, 2010